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Rooftop Garden

co- 
in Latin, the form of com-

"together, with"

coexist 

to be together in the same time or space 

cohesive 

sticking together 

combine 

to put two things together 

committee 

a group of people who meet together to discuss a topic 

communication 

the act of talking with someone and discussing something together 

community 

a place where people live together 

compatible 

able to live together and get along; things that can go together without problems 

Collaborate / cooperative

to work ‘with’ another 

Companion 

one ‘with’ whom one eats bread

COLECTIVE

"Do not seek happiness,
Grow it under your feet."

The "modern"

URBAN FABRIC

Until a few years ago, human society was based on the extended family; a family of at least 3 generations, with parent, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, all living together in a single or loosely knit multiple household. -Christopher Alexander

What if all of the things we hate about living in cities is simply a design error, a blind error, of the things we didn't know we didn't know. To think that we simply took for granted all the things in plain sight. Well, that's good news. Let's just return to the roots then. Lets design a city that is not only beautiful and clean but also comfortable and resilient.  From the ground up, one structure at a time, one household at a time. (inner and outer worlds the personally rich life that leads to a thriving partnership that births a happy family that can be pillars of a community that can come together in low and joy. Its a closed feedback loop. Our cities reflect our lifestyle, our lifestyle reflects our health and inner world. As Winston Churchill said:

 

We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us

Imagine a city that is not a concrete jungle but rather a manicured version of what we have always known to be our environment. Instead of a dirty place that disconnects and distracts us, its an enchanting street that embraces diversity in all aspects. That includes urban agriculture as much as pockets of raw nature and everything in between. Homes that bring the new type of family together. A voluntary family that adopts its neighbors as beloved individuals and they all brake bread together. Sign together. A city with a European model of high density low rise then also adopts the principle of the triple bottom line  and only grow in ways that are beneficial socially, economically, and environmentally. Embracing green architecture and infrastructure as a standard of living and achieving that one lot at a time. Read more about green infrastructure to see what this means at the street level. Then see "Mixed family Dwellings" to see how this applies to the community or voluntary family. And lastly, read about the home realm to see how it all starts with a healthier home. These are the means to achieve great quality of life within the urban fabric. 

51% of the world’s population lives in less than 2% of the world’s land

Currently, about 51% of the world’s population lives in less than 2% of the world’s land, and 95% lives in 10% of the land (European Commission, Joint Research Centre). “In 2007, for the first time in history, the global urban population exceeded the global rural population, and by 2014, 54 per cent of the world’s population resided in the urban area. By 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population is projected to be urban. Today, the most urbanized regions include Northern America (82%) Latin America and the Caribbean (8%), and Europe (73%). In contrast, Africa and Asia remain mostly rural, with 40 and 48 % of their respective populations living in urban areas. All regions are expected to urbanize further over the coming decades with Africa and Asia urbanizing faster than the other regions they are projected to become 56 and 64 % urban, by 2050. Asia, despite its lower level of urbanization, is home to 53 per cent of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe (14 per cent)”. (World Urbanization Prospects (2014).

And as people keep migrating at impressive speeds from the countryside into urban areas, cities across the glove are expected to keep growing. Cities are vital for development and reduce poverty in urban and rural areas alike since they concentrate government and commerce and offer vital links to rural areas. Urban living has a direct correlation to better health, higher literacy rates, easier access to social and civic services and improved cultural and political participation.

 

 

Cities that have high densities tend to be more walkable and have greater transportation options and when successful, always implement mixed use regulations that create the type of urban fabric that is built for human users rather than prioritizing cars.

It is important to understand what are the key principles that lead to livability and subsequently sustainability. Urban density is a number of people that live in each specific urban area.  It is believed that cities operate more efficiently when residents live in denser urban surroundings. Cities that have high densities tend to be more walkable and have greater transportation options and when successful, always implement mixed use regulations that create the type of urban fabric that is built for human users rather than prioritizing cars. This high density, mixed use approach to is leading the way towards sustainability by offer greener, less wasteful and high energy efficient way of life. For a city to be able to provide efficient transport it must have high demand, this demand, of course, comes from high density. In order to maximize public transportation and encourage walking and bicycling culture, the city must reduce travel time between live/work/shop/play. Dense cities hold creative environments of innovation and productivity (see The Space). Also, a compact city begs for great gathering places that serve as community nodes where people gather to connect. 

 

Urban density when not handled with care can be catastrophic not only for the cities inhabitants but for the environment. However, growing urbanization needs cannot be ignored and allowed to spiral out of control. Since WW2 growing cities have been struggling with their rate of growth desperately trying to find solutions to their housing crisis. One specific typology increases units without the significant reduction in quality of life seen in sprawls.  low-rise, high-density, a community centric approach with an emphasis on “livable scale” or "human scale". (see "Mixed Family Dwellings.") Density is essential to achieve sustainable urbanism. the compact city ensures a certain proximity to home-work-services in a mixed-use approach to urban planning which lends itself for walkability. Edward McMahon from the Urban Land Institute says that density is better achieved "without high-rises."

Well planned density gives cities the opportunity for improved infrastructure (see green infrastructure) leading to cleaner and more energy efficient environment. A more concentrated density also lessens the possibility of human invasion of natural habitats. For a city to be livable however, population and functions must be dispersed at lower densities.” (Dessì , V. (n.d.) (2015)). This interplay between livability and density reduces per capita environmental demands while making infrastructure, and economic development much more effective, more cost-effective, and better connected! 

 

The current city is perceived as a dehumanizing, overcrowded concrete jungle horribly polluted by nightmare traffic.  This view towards the city means the idea of low-density suburbia can be appealing to some in an effort to find green, open spaces, and a more wholesome approach.

How do we get there?

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